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UNESCO HIV and Health Education Clearinghouse

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  1. Menstrual health and school absenteeism among adolescent girls in Uganda (MENISCUS): A feasibility study

    Management of menstruation can present substantial challenges to girls in low-income settings. In preparation for a menstrual hygiene intervention to reduce school absenteeism in Uganda, this study aimed to investigate menstruation management practices, barriers and facilitators, and the influence of menstruation on school absenteeism among secondary school students in a peri-urban district of Uganda. …

  2. The precocious period: the impact of early menarche on schooling in India

    Improvements in childhood nutrition increase schooling and economic returns in later life in a virtuous cycle. However, better nutrition also leads to an earlier onset of menstruation (menarche). In socio-cultural contexts where menarche adversely affects educational attainments, early menarche can thus break the virtuous cycle of girls’ human development. This paper focuses on one such context, India, and uses the Young Lives Longitudinal Study to show that starting menses before age twelve causes a 13% decrease in school enrollment rate. …

  3. The association between being currently in school and HIV prevalence among young women in nine eastern and southern African countries

    Interventions to keep adolescent girls and young women in school, or support their return to school, are hypothesised to also reduce HIV risk. Such interventions are included in the DREAMS combination package of evidence-based interventions. Although there is evidence of reduced risky sexual behaviours, the impact on HIV incidence is unclear. We used nationally representative surveys to investigate the association between being in school and HIV prevalence.

  4. Keeping African girls in school with better sanitary care

    For young girls in developing countries, not knowing how to manage their periods can hinder access to education. Research from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London demonstrates that in rural Uganda, providing free sanitary products and lessons about puberty to girls may increase their attendance at school.

  5. Menarche and its implications for educational policy in Peru

    Indigenous girls in rural areas live in the most extreme poverty and make up the least educated groups in Peru. These girls face numerous constraints to obtaining an education. Enrollment rates are lower for girls in rural areas, and their grade repetition rates are higher than those for boys. Adolescence is particularly difficult, as girls face a number of risks during this time. Once they begin menstruation, completing their primary school education is a formidable challenge, and opportunities for advancing to secondary school are limited. …

  6. Menstrual hygiene management compliance in primary schools in Uganda: a case of Lira Municipality

    The main objective of the study was to determine the influence of Menstrual Hygiene Management on school absenteeism of adolescent girls in 10 primary schools in Lira municipality. Our findings highlighted that; majority of the respondent’s onset of the menstruation was at 13 years of age, 60% of the participants used disposable pads. Most respondents changed their pads at least twice a day. Two fifth of the primary girls reported missing school for about 3 days during menstrual periods pointing to the lack of menstrual hygiene products. …

  7. Menstrual hygiene management to improve the attendance of primary school-aged girls in Central North, Burkina Faso

    How to improve the conditions for girls to attend school, to reduce failure and drop-out rates of adolescent girls, while ensuring their dignity and protection? This was the consideration that motivated the Kom-Yilma project, implemented by Catholic Relief Services in Burkina Faso and financed by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, to undertake a behavior-change strategy for menstrual-hygiene management in 118 schools in Bam and Sanmatenga Provinces. …

  8. A time for global action: addressing girls' menstrual hygiene management needs in schools

    Summary Points: There is an absence of guidance, facilities, and materials for schoolgirls to manage their menstruation in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Formative evidence has raised awareness that poor menstrual hygiene management (MHM) contributes to inequity, increasing exposure to transactional sex to obtain sanitary items, with some evidence of an effect on school indicators and with repercussions for sexual, reproductive, and general health throughout the life course. …

  9. Cash transfers: magic bullet or fundamental ingredient?

    Comment on a study published in The Lancet Global Health by Audrey Pettifor and colleagues on cash transfers, school attendance and the reduction of HIV risk behaviours in adolescent girls.

  10. The effect of a conditional cash transfer on HIV incidence in young women in rural South Africa (HPTN 068): a phase 3, randomised controlled trial

    Cash transfers have been proposed as an intervention to reduce HIV-infection risk for young women in sub-Saharan Africa. However, scarce evidence is available about their effect on reducing HIV acquisition. The authors aimed to assess the effect of a conditional cash transfer on HIV incidence among young women in rural South Africa. Based on their research findings, the authors draw the conclusion that cash transfers conditional on school attendance did not reduce HIV incidence in young women. School attendance significantly reduced risk of HIV acquisition, irrespective of study group. …

  11. Kenya: helping adolescent mothers remain in school through strengthened implementation of school re-entry policies

    The goal of this case study is to document an activity of the STEP UP research programme consortium which resulted in successful evidence utilization. This is to both demonstrate the positive impact STEP UP is having on family planning and reproductive health policies, as well as to document the process by which this was achieved so as to inform future research of successful strategies and lessons learned. …

  12. Menstruation and the cycle of poverty: a cluster quasi-randomised control trial of sanitary pad and puberty education provision in Uganda

    Background: Poor menstrual knowledge and access to sanitary products have been proposed as barriers to menstrual health and school attendance. In response, interventions targeting these needs have seen increasing implementation in public and private sectors. However, there has been limited assessment of their effectiveness. …

  13. School feeding and girls’ enrollment: the effects of alternative implementation modalities in low-income settings in sub-Saharan Africa

    BACKGROUND: School feeding interventions are implemented in nearly every country in the world, with the potential to support the education, health and nutrition of school children. In terms of impact on school participation, there is little evidence to show that different school feeding modalities have different effect sizes. OBJECTIVE: To examine the influence of different school feeding modalities on primary school enrollment, particularly for girls, in 32 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. …

  14. A survey on re-entry of pregnant girls in primary and secondary schools in Uganda: survey briefing

    The main objective of the Survey on Re-Entry of Pregnant Girls in Primary and Secondary Schools in Uganda (2011) is to collect evidence and articulate policy options to address the re-integration of pregnant girls and child mothers in school in Uganda. …

  15. Adolescent pregnancy and education trajectories in Malawi

    Education is a vital component of the preparation for adulthood, and is closely linked to transitions into marriage and parenting. Childbearing among adolescent girls in sub-Saharan Africa remains high, while primary school completion is far from universal. This paper uses longitudinal data from five rounds of the Malawi Schooling and Adolescent Study to investigate how becoming pregnant while attending school influences medium-term educational outcomes of young women. …

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